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Posted at 3:36 PM ET, 10/28/2010

Welcome, PolitiFact Virginia

By Paige Winfield Cunningham

Eric Cantor's pants are on fire.

At least according to PolitiFact Virginia, a new partnership between the Richmond Times-Dispatch and the St. Petersburg Times's announced this week. Virginia is now the eighth state in which a news organization is teaming with PolitiFact to fact-check statements made by elected officials, party leaders, pundits, talk show hosts and other leaders in the political landscape.

Winner of a Pulitzer prize in 2009, PolitiFact's brilliance lies -- at least in my opinion -- in its format. It ranks statements on a six-step truthfulness scale: true, mostly true, half-true, barely true, false and the ultimate denunciation -- pants on fire! And for those with the time and inclination to find out how the ranking was derived, PolitiFact reporters supply a long, sourced explanation.

It's simultaneously enlightening and discouraging to read PolitiFact Virginia's seven postings since its Tuesday launch. So far, the site has scrutinized statements by three Democrats and four Republicans running in the four Virginia congressional races considered to be competitive.

While Rep. Cantor has received the lowest mark for his claim that Democrats have "spent more money than this country has spent in the last 200 years combined," other statements don't fare so well, either.

Would you believe Robert Hurt was lying when he said Rep. Tom Perriello voted to give tax breaks to foreign companies creating jobs in China? But wait -- Perriello hurled a similarly false accusation back: that Hurt supports the tax loopholes that send American jobs overseas.

Rep. Glenn Nye, his Republican opponent Scott Rigell and Rep. Rick Boucher came the closest to the truth, earning a "barely true" ranking. And Boucher's opponent, state Del. Morgan Griffith, was "half-true" when he said Boucher helped to write the "cap and trade" bill.

Fact-checking opportunities will undoubtedly multiply for PolitiFact Virginia in the countdown to Tuesday. Kudos for drawing a line of honesty in the truth-challenged political world.

Paige Winfield Cunningham is an investigative reporter and managing editor at Old Dominion Watchdog. The Local Blog Network is a group of bloggers from around the D.C. region who have agreed to make regular contributions to All Opinions Are Local.

By Paige Winfield Cunningham  | October 28, 2010; 3:36 PM ET
Categories:  HotTopic, Local blog network, Va. Politics, Virginia  
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Sorry, Paige,
But I think you are falling for this reporting gimmick which is being used by a newspaper that does not do much serious reporting and is very curiously starting this in the last week of a campaign.

For more detail, please read my blog post today called:

"PolitiJoke" Virginia?

Peter Galuszka

Posted by: Peter Galuszka | October 28, 2010 5:29 PM | Report abuse

Unfortunately, the pluses of Politifact are negated by the fact that those who are proven to be lieing will always have a caveat as to why their statement is not a lie, and, more importantly, the supporters of the alleged liars will always argue Politifact is biased against them. It's just the political reality right now: there's no reason to worry about having your pants on fire, because that fire is just as likely to leave a scarring burn on your opponent as it is on you.

Posted by: Elnok | October 29, 2010 11:59 AM | Report abuse

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